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 'Barbarossa 41' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley
Guest Historian Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, thank you for visiting TIAH. This timeline attempts to portray what might have happened if Nazi Germany and Communist Russia had attacked each other simultaneously in June of 1941. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit the Changing the Times web site.

July 3

On this day in 1941, Joseph Stalin addressed the Soviet people in a radio speech from the Kremlin in which he boasted that Germany would be crushed by the Red Army in six months. 'We will bury you, Herr Hitler' he said, and with Soviet armor and infantry divisions advancing at a brisk and steady pace towards the eastern bank of the Bug River there was little reason to doubt Stalin on that score.


July 6

On this day in 1941, the Red Army suffered its first major defeat in the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as German troops captured the historic city of Brest-Litovsk.


July 9

On this day in 1941, Adolf Hitler stunned the world by unilaterally declaring a cease-fire with Great Britain and announcing that all German occupation forces would be withdrawn from France and the Low Countries within 30 days. Publicly he described it as a goodwill gesture aimed at laying the foundation for a lasting peace between Germany and Britain. In fact, it was a means to free up troops in the west to be transferred to the east to shore up his army's battlefront in Russia.


July 11

On this day in 1941, the Red Army began its campaign to retake Brest-Litovsk from the Wehrmacht.


July 12

On this day in 1941, Adolf Hitler said that he was granting political asylum to former Vichy French leader Pierre Laval, who had fled to Germany within hours after the Fuhrer announced his impending withdrawal of German troops from France.


July 8

On this day in 1941, German troops began evacuating Denmark as part of Hitler's plan to shore up his strained Russian battlefront; also on this day, Soviet fighters bombed Wehrmacht advance positions near Brest-Litovsk.


July 16

On this day in 1941, German troops began a two-pronged push into Lithuania.


July 20

On this day in 1941, anti-Soviet Lithuanian rebels acting with the encouragement of Nazi Germany seized control of Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.                                        


July 21

On this day in 1941, Nazi Germany became the first foreign power to recognize the new anti-Soviet government of Lithuania.


July 25

On this day in 1941, the last pockets of Soviet resistance in Lithuania were crushed by German infantry and anti-Communist Lithuanian troops.                                                


July 28

On this day in 1941, the Luftwaffe bombed the Ukrainian provincial capital of Kiev into rubble.

That same day the last pockets of Red Army resistance in Minsk surrendered to German and Lithuanian troops.


July 30

On this day in 1941, German ground forces in the Ukraine began advancing on Kiev.


August 2

On this day in 1941, German and Finnish troops encircled Leningrad.


August 5

On this day in 1941, the last pockets of Soviet resistance in Kiev surrendered to the Germans.


October 2

On this day in 1941, deposed Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin was executed for what an official TASS bulletin described as 'conduct detrimental to the welfare of the USSR and her people'.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin

June 22

On this day in 1941, three million German soldiers crossed the Polish border in an attempt to invade the Soviet Union only to find themselves confronted by an equal number of Soviet troops seeking to enter the territory of the Third Reich. Both armies sustained massive casualties in what would later be recorded as the bloodiest and largest land campaign of the 20th century.


June 23

On this day in 1941, Joseph Stalin made the formal announcement that the Soviet Union was at war with Nazi Germany.                                                                                                    


June 25

On this day in 1941, Soviet warplanes bombed Berlin for the first time in World War II.


June 26

On this day in 1941, German bombers raided Moscow in retaliation for the previous day's Soviet air attack on Berlin.                                                                                                  


August 8

On this day in 1941, the Luftwaffe launched its famous "thousand-bomber raid" against Moscow, leaving half the city in ruins and killing a third of its population. Among the casualties: NKVD secret police chief Lavrenti Beria, who died when a German bomb scored a direct hit on his office in Dzherzinsky Square.


August 12

On this day in 1941, Leningrad finally fell to German and Finnish troops after a nine-day siege.


August 14

On this day in 1941, Joseph Stalin secretly ordered his cabinet to begin preparations to evacuate Moscow. That same day, the German-backed puppet government of Latvia declared its independence from the Soviet Union and joined the war on the side of the Axis powers.


August 17

On this day in 1941, the sarcophagus containing the body of Communist founding father Vladimir Lenin was smuggled out of Moscow as German artillery and tanks started to bombard the Russian village of Kuvsinovo.

 - Lenin

August 19

On this day in 1941, Wehrmacht and SS infantry troops in Russia seized Kuvsinovo. News of the village's fall sparked panic and riots in Moscow proper; during the riots senior Red Army commander General Georgi Zhukov disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again.

 - Georgi Zhukov
Georgi Zhukov

August 20

On this day in 1941, the Soviet Union's already dire military situation took a sharp turn for the worse as the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Siberia.

The invasion came less than an hour after the Japanese ambassador in Moscow informed Soviet foreign minister Vycheslav Molotov that Japan was unilaterally terminating the non-aggression pact it had signed with the USSR just over four months earlier.


August 22

On this day in 1941, Red Army general Andrei Vlasov was summarily court-martialled and executed after authorizing one of his divison commanders to pull out of the village of Kaluga.

Vlasov, who prior to his arrest had been in charge of the Soviet ground forces defending Moscow, had violated Stalin's famous 'Not One Step Back' order forbidding Soviet troops from retreating under any circumstances.

Red Army General
Red Army General - Andrei Vlasov
Andrei Vlasov

August 25

On this day in 1941, Japanese bombers attacked the Soviet Pacific seaport of Vladivostok, destroying at least half the Soviet navy's Pacific fleet in one fell swoop.

Vladivostok - Port Destroyed
Port Destroyed

August 28

On this day in 1941, the Wehrmacht campaign in Russia achieved its greatest triumph to date, smashing a Red Army tank offensive near the town of Kursk.

The general whose strategy helped win the battle, Erwin Rommel, was later awarded the Knight's Cross and promoted to field marshal.


September 1

On this day in 1941, German troops in Russia captured the Moscow suburb of Strogino.


September 3
Japanese Troops

On this day in 1941, Japanese troops in Russia's Siberian territory captured the industrial city of Magadan.

Japanese Troops - entering Magadan
entering Magadan

September 4

On this day in 1941, the last members of Joseph Stalin's cabinet were evacuated from Moscow.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin

September 7

On this day in 1941, Japanese marines in Russia captured the Bering Straits coastal town of Anadyr'.


September 8

On this day in 1941, Joseph Stalin was overthrown in a military coup shortly after word reached the Soviet high command that the German army, now in control of most of Moscow's suburbs, had begun the final assault on Moscow itself.

 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin

September 12
US President

On this day in 1941, in response to the Japanese capture of Anadyr' five days earlier, President of the United States Franklin Roosevelt placed all US territorial defense outposts in Alaska and Hawaii on precautionary alert and ordered a top-to-bottom review of defense readiness for US Army and Navy installations on the west coast of the American mainland.

US President - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt

September 13

On this day in 1941, Red Army general Ivan Konev officially assumed the leadership of the Soviet government; in his first official act as new Soviet head of state Konev, who had let the coup which toppled Joseph Stalin's regime five days earlier, fired Vycheslav Molotov as foreign minister and brought Molotov's predecessor Maxim Livitnov.

General -  Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev

September 15

On this day in 1941, the Japanese expeditionary force in Siberia was handed its first serious defeat when Soviet troops repulsed an Imperial Army attempt to seize Petropavlovsk.


September 5

On this day in 1941, the Wehrmacht overran the Moscow suburb of Kotlovka, putting the Germans one huge step closer to capturing Moscow itself.                                              


September 17

On this day in 1941, with Wehrmacht and SS divisions less than 40 miles from the outskirts of Moscow, Adolf Hitler inexplicably ordered a halt to the German advance in Russia. This would turn out to be as great a tactical mistake for the Third Reich on the Eastern Front as the four-day suspension of ground operations near Dunkirk in June 1940 had been on the Western Front.

 - Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

September 21

On this day in 1941, acting CPSU First Secretary and Soviet armed forces commander-in-chief Ivan Konev ordered the Red Army to mount a multi-front attack on the German lines outside Moscow.

General -  Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev

September 24

On this day in 1941, the Red Army encircled German positions near Kotlovka.

 - Red Army insignia
Red Army insignia

September 27

On this day in 1941, the Red Army recaptured Kotlovka from the Germans. This marked a crucial turning point in the war on the Eastern Front and gave a much-needed boost to Soviet morale.


September 30
US President

On this day in 1941, US naval intelligence officials advised President Franklin Roosevelt that they had obtained credible evidence the Imperial Japanese Navy was planning an attack on the US Pacific Fleet's headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Roosevelt found this hard to accept until US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Ernest J. King told him that evidence had also been found the IJN had developed a torpedo capable of operating in Pearl Harbor's shallow depths.

US President - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt

October 4

On this day in 1941, Red Army troops in Siberia repulsed a second Japanese attempt to take Petropavlovsk.

 - Red Army insignia
Red Army insignia

October 5

On this day in 1941, Soviet ground forces launched a three-column attack to retake Strogino.

 - Red Army insignia
Red Army insignia

October 7

On this day in 1941, the German army unleashed a ferocious counterattack against Red Army infantry and armor divisions trying to retake Strogino.                                        


October 9

On this day in 1941, US Pacific Fleet commander-in-chief Admiral Husband E. Kimmel got a written directive from President Roosevelt giving him full authority to take whatever measures he deemed appropriate to secure Pearl Harbor's naval base against attack.

US Army Hawaii Territorial Defense Command C-in-C General Walter Short was given a similiar directive authorizing him to do anything that needed to be done to strengthen the Hawaiian Islands' ground and air defenses.

Admiral - Kimmel

October 11

On this day in 1941, the German defenses around Strogino collapsed, enabling the Red Army to retake the city.

 - Red Army insignia
Red Army insignia

October 13

On this day in 1941, the Second Battle of Kursk began.


October 16

On this day in 1941, the Wehrmacht defenses at Kursk collapsed as Red Army cavalry punched through the left flank of the German lines; future military historians would define this moment as the crucial turning point in the Second Battle of Kursk.

Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff - Franz Halder
Franz Halder

Hitler blamed then-German army chief of staff Franz Halder for the collapse and sacked him even though Hitler had repeatedly overruled Halder's strategic recommendations for averting that collapse.

October 17
Soviet Premier

On this day in 1941, Soviet ruler Ivan Konev declared victory in the Second Battle of Kursk.

Soviet Premier - Ivan Konev
Ivan Konev

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